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Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide Hardcover – 6 Oct 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan Division of Workman Publishing (6 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653514
  • Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 2.9 x 28.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"Under Pressure," writes Harold McGee in his introduction to this, the first book written in English on cooking sous vide, introduces cooks to one of the most important culinary innovations of modern times.
An uncommonly grand claim coming from so precise a scientist and writer, but such is the power of this controversial method. Thomas Keller and his chefs, McGee continues, illustrate the powers of precision heating with dozens of dishes that wouldn t be as fine, or even conceivable, without it.
Sous vide method comprises a group of techniques that allows the cook to realize flavors and textures that no other cooking method can. By sealing food in plastic and submerging it at exact temperatures for minutes or for days food that is traditionally braised, sauteed, roasted, or poached we can attain astonishing results. The tough cuts of meat we once braised in simmering stock can now be cooked sous vide to a medium-rare pink, juicy and meltingly tender. Lamb loin, veal tenderloin, and other larger cuts of meat, difficult to cook evenly, emerge uniform throughout. Delicate fish is enhanced and the margin of error reduced. Vegetables and fruits, cooked in an oxygen-free environment, remain vividly colored. And, because the food is sealed in plastic, its flavor is never lost to the cooking water or the atmosphere. Carrots taste more like carrots, apples more like apples. Small amounts of herbs and other aromatics can have dramatic effects. Cold techniques are valuable as well. Marinades used with meats "en sous vide "are powerfully effective. Various fruits and vegetables, such as melons, cucumbers, and pineapple, become new when compressed.
"Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide "is an invaluable contribution to our culinary world at a time of unprecedented interest in food and cooking, both in the restaurant kitchen and at home. The most critical aspect of sous vide lies in discovering what combination of time and temperature achieves the most sublime results. The answers, as discovered and practiced during the past decade by the chefs of The French Laundry and per se, two of the most respected restaurants in the world, are all here, within the innovative recipes from Keller s landmark restaurants.
"Under Pressure "is a source of instruction, technique, and recipes for anyone who wants to experience the new ideas sous vide makes possible, inspiration for what is possible and what might be.

"

About the Author

Thomas Keller was named "America's Best Chef" by "Time magazine and is the only person to receive consecutive "Best Chef" awards from the James Beard Foundation. "The French Laundry Cookbook (Artisan, 1999) won an IACP trifecta: "Cookbook of the Year," "Best First Cookbook," and "Best Photography." Keller has opened a Bouchon at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and two Bouchon Bakeries--one in Napa and one in New York City, where he has also opened Per Se.

Sebastien Rouxel, co-author with Thomas Keller of "Bouchon Bakery", oversees all aspects of the pastry department for Bouchon Bakery, The French Laundry, and per se. In 2005, he was named a "Rising Star" by "StarChefs "magazine. In 2006 and again in 2008, "Pastry Art & Design "magazine declared him one of the "Top Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America."

Deborah Jones's recent honors include Best Photography in a Cookbook from the James Beard Foundation for her work in "Bouchon". A frequent contributor to national magazines, she conducts a parallel commercial career from her San Francisco studio.

Harold McGee is a world-renowned authority on the chemistry of foods and cooking. He studied science and literature at Caltech and Yale, and has written two prize-winning books, On Food and Cooking and The Curious Cook, as well as many articles and reviews. He lives near San Francisco.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was a bit disappointed after having bought this book.
For me it was the first book on cooking sous-vide, but the only parts I really liked where the introductory pages. They describe some of the principles, results and why's of cooking sous vide. But the recipes are not really inspiring.
Then came the last part of the book: the part with the tables. I liked that very much. It gives you a helpful overview of cooking temperatures and times.
But with a useful introduction and a useful appendix, it does not become a useful book. At least not for this price. Thomas Keller has done so much better in other books.
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Format: Hardcover
It's not every day that you pick up a cookbook that totally changes your perception of food and cooking. As a child foodie, I can just remember when Cuisine Minceur by Michel Guerard hit the bookshelves in the 70's; after the butter-laden recipes of the 60s, its low-fat cooking was a relevation (hard to believe nowadays) and the food and flavour combinations - now commonplace - shocked chefs, home cooks and my parents alike. (It's still a classic.)

Under Pressure is somewhat of a misnomer. Sous vide means 'under vacuum', and it is this combined with cooking the food at below boiling point that is the revolution. No longer do you have to overcook the outside to ensure the interior is not raw. And no longer does the colour leach out, along with the flavour that our new generation of farmers work so hard to capture, and (presumably) the vitamins.

However, even the sous vide method was developed in the 1970s, by one Georges Pralus attempting to cook foie gras without losing its shape or fat. (Similarly, Cuisine Minceur was born of the necessity for a healthier way of cooking - to lure figure-conscious Parisiennes 800 km to his new wife's spa hotel in South-West France). But like many radical changes, they take time to find broader acceptance - and a creative adventurer like Thomas Keller to bring them to public notice.

Under Pressure condenses the past ten years of experimentation with sous vide techniques at The French Laundry into one book. A warning - do not attempt the recipes at home, unless you have a near commercial kitchen, a team of uncomplaining sous-chefs/kitchen slaves, and unlimited time. Further warning - read the section about food safely very closely - bacteria can multiply fast at temperatures of 65 C. The recipes are more for professional chefs.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm sorry to give a totally negative review but claiming to be 'the first book written in English on cooking sous-vide' (simply not true) and describing food as being 'sealed in plastic' should have given me the hints that this book would massively disappoint.

Is my beautiful copy of Sous-Vide Cuisine by Joan Roca and Salvador Brugues not in perfect English and been poured over by me for at least a year now? The forward of 'Under Pressure' states that 'It's fitting that the first book to present the sous-vide method to English-speaking cooks........' Where on earth was the editor? Too scared of editing a subject such as this and so leaving it to the authors alone?

I found this book simply an ego trip for the author(s) with hardly a page being turned without a reference to one or other of their restaurants - so many references in fact that is became very boring. The book misses chances time and again to educate the reader (few if any tables on cooking times for each of the meats/fish/ etc) in this fascinating method of cooking and instead concentrates on egotistical menus of massive complexity. Sous Vide is not complex and the subject presented in this way I found counter intuitive and counter productive.

The sections regarding the vital yet basic factors governing cooking by sous-vide for either mis en service or for storage and use at a later time and the safety aspects relevant to each were, in my opinion, not given the relevance that each separately and distinctly deserves. The two have quite distinctly different factors regarding safety and I didn't find that the book stressed this enough - safety seems to have been treated, albeit in depth, as one which is a little worrying really.
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8 Comments 85 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a pretty book, but lacks detail on the subject.

And "The Inspector" is right - the author should have concentrated more on the science and the recipes, than plugging restaurants he owns or suppliers of goods that he patronises.

... because some people who buy these books actually want to COOK, rather then leave the books on their coffee tables and dream.
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Format: Hardcover
I love the clear descriptions of the principles of Sous Vide, as well as the different chefs' perspectives on the uses of this technique. The recipes are easy to read, with ingredients helpfully measured in grams. Many have stunning colour photographs, and each has a clever "At Service" section indicating how best to achieve a stunning presentation. There is also an invaluable chart listing temperature and cooking times for each ingredient. "White Asparagus with Field Rhubarb and Black Truffle Coulis"? "Torchon of Monkfish Liver with Green Apple Jelly and Ossetra Caviar"? Or maybe a "Cherry-Vanilla" consisting of "Madagascar Vanilla Bean Cake, Morello Cherry Ice Cream, Italian Pistachio Coulis, Kirsch Foam, and Cherry Jam"? Thomas Keller is a genious!
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